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Medical Supply Drive at UW Nets Nearly 34,000 Gloves, Other Supplies for Hospitals

April 3, 2020
man standing behind a stack of boxes of gloves
Lars Kotthoff, an assistant professor in the UW Department of Computer Science and a Wyoming Technology Coronavirus Coalition member, stands near dozens of boxes of gloves that were donated at the recent medical supply drive at UW. Nearly 34,000 gloves and other medical supplies were collected and will be distributed to health care workers throughout the state. (Ryan Alford Photo)

More than 33,000 gloves and other medical supplies will help health care workers statewide in the fight against COVID-19, thanks to a recent supply drive at the University of Wyoming.

Members of the Wyoming Technology Coronavirus Coalition (WTCC) organized a medical supply drive April 1. They collected 33,390 gloves; 529 N95 masks; 282 other masks; 123 safety glasses/goggles; 118 gowns; as well as containers of hand sanitizer, wipes, disinfectant and biohazard bags/boxes.

“We received much more interest and donations than we had anticipated from the UW and Laramie communities,” says Lars Kotthoff, an assistant professor in the UW Department of Computer Science and a WTCC member. “We received large donations from UW departments and smaller ones from individuals.”

WTCC members have distributed some of the donated supplies to the UW Student Health Service, the Albany County Emergency Management team and Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, and they plan to distribute thousands of gloves to medical centers throughout the state next week, says Samantha Alford, who organized the medical supply drive for the WTCC.

Alford, a master’s student in the UW Department of Zoology and Physiology, says she heard about the urgent need for personal protective equipment (PPE), and she wanted to do something to help.

“Being involved in research at the university, I knew that the university had lots of PPE in labs that faculty or students weren’t using right now,” says Alford, from Luray, Va., who plans to graduate in May. “I began thinking that probably a lot of organizations have PPE that they can donate.”

In her role with the WTCC, Alford is responsible for organizing volunteers to gather hospital contact information, supply needs and where to ship donations. Additionally, she will lead other WTCC members to host medical supply drives in their local communities.

Another WTCC-organized medical supply drive will take place Tuesday, April 7, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Natrona County Library in Casper. All donations will be delivered to the Natrona County Emergency Operations Center for distribution to Natrona County medical facilities. 

Alford and her husband learned about the WTCC from their friend Eric Trowbridge, CEO of Array Inc., a school of technology and design based in Cheyenne, who founded the organization. They joined the WTCC when there were approximately 20 members, and now there are over 200 members.

The WTCC’s mission is “to leverage technology to identify gaps, encourage collaboration, and facilitate quick and effective solutions in Wyoming communities affected by COVID-19.”

“We’ll do anything and everything we can to help with the current situation. For the moment, this is mostly identifying the needs of the community -- in particular, hospitals -- and how they can be met,” Kotthoff says. “There are a lot of people doing lots of things in Wyoming, and we need to coordinate all of these efforts to make sure that needs are addressed effectively and efficiently.”

For more information about the WTCC or to make a donation, go to the WTCC website at https://wytechcc.com.

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